Vice Arabia: Hamas’ Oct. 7 Massacre Legitimate Under International Law

Purporting to analyze the Israel-Hamas war through the lens of international law, a Vice Arabia explainer falsely justified Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre and atrocities against Israel’s Jewish civilians as “within international law, which clearly recognized the legitimacy of resistance movements which defend themselves against occupation.”

After CAMERA Arabic shared a translation of the Oct. 27 backgrounder with the Washington Free Beacon, the D.C. media outlet published an article revealing Vice’s justification of mass terror for English-speakers. The Free Beacon reported that Vice defended its column which had been penned by Vice MENA’s former managing editor Badar Salem: “A Vice spokesman said the article was an opinion column, and noted that Salem left as managing editor last January, although she still contributes regularly to the publication.”

Contrary to Vice’s claim that Salem’s piece is an “opinion column,” the item justifying mass murder, torture and rape does not appear in website’s opinion section nor does it carry any label identifying it as opinion. As of this writing, Salem’s article still appears on Vice’s site.

Below are all the translation excerpts from the piece that CAMERA Arabic provided the Washington Free Beacon. All translations, emphases, in-bracket remarks and footnotes below are by CAMERA Arabic (“The Ethics of Israel’s War on Gaza: A Few Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions”):

… In this article, we will try to answer on the pressing ethical questions which surround the current Israeli war on Gaza …

Does Israel have the right to defend itself?

Does Israel, as the occupying force in the Palestinian lands [also: territories], enjoy a legitimate right of self defense pursuant to international law?

Firstly, self defense pursuant to international law is traditionally an individual right. But when an occupying force faces resistance from the occupied inhabitants, this is not considered the occupied inhabitants’ attack, but a reaction against the occupation itself. In the Palestinian case, the Israeli occupation is considered the root cause of violence in and of itself …

Does the Palestinian deserve defending himself?

The concept of resistance movements defending themselves against occupation has deep roots in international law. From struggles against colonialism to contemporary battles for self-determination, international law has continuously recognized that the likes of these movements have legitimacy to [pursue] the right of self determination. The United Nations charters and various international treaties [1] also recognize the right to resist occupation. …

Once more, international humanitarian law, and especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, provide protection for civilians who live under occupation and a guarantee for their well-being. In absence of this protection [from the occupier], the right of self defense becomes a necessity. Adopted in 1970, the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2649 [false link; see Footnote 2] recognizes the legitimacy of struggle against subjugation and occupation in the context of self-determination. It stipulates that “peoples under colonial and foreign domination have an inalienable right to struggle for self determination, whereby all available means should be employed, including armed struggle” [2]. Within this framework, what Hamas and the Palestinian resistance movements do/have done against Israeli targets is within international law which clearly recognized the legitimacy of resistance movements defending themselves against occupation. When confronting the occupation, resistance movements are permitted to resort to [exert] this “inalienable” right to struggle for self-determination.

Is what’s happening in Gaza a crime of genocide [3]?

… Genocide is a deliberate and systemic attempt to exterminate a specific ethnic, racial or religious group. But does the ongoing conflict in Gaza meet its criteria as set in international law?

The ongoing war in Gaza satisfies a number of legal criteria for genocide, the first being the intention of destruction …

Israeli statements do not deny this …

What does dehumanizing the Palestinian mean?

Many journalists and politicians publicized false information without presenting any evidence regarding Hamas’s attack on the Gaza envelope settlements, namely that the movement … “raped women,” aiming at depicting the Palestinian “as dangerous, brutal and hypersexual.’”

Following the publication of the Free Beacon article, Badar Salem deleted her X/Twitter account in which she had also defended and even celebrated the massacres. See screenshots below.

At left, Badar Salem likes a post which states:

The Palestinian people is waging a battle to eradicate colonialism on behalf of all colonized peoples and to eradicate an enemy which inflicts destruction upon every corner of the world’s South.

We must not waste time justifying the act of resistance and revolutionary violence that depicts the highest and most sublime imagery of the struggle for life.

None of us should reconcile with the rhetoric of humanizing enemies under any justification.

At left, Salem likes a post which states:

The world has always been and will be degenerated, nothing motivates or empowers it like standing with the systemic criminality whose name is Israel and whose crimes are celebrated daily with all the details of the Palestinians’ lives, either in silence or speech. Whatever speech left is considerably marginal given the sights of the exodus back to Historical Palestine and the eternal and inevitable straying for the occupier.


[1] Link leads to UN General Assembly resolution 3236 from November 1974, about the Palestinians’ right of  self determination. Not a word there about “resisting occupation.”

[2] In fact, this wording is a mishmash of several UNGA phrases, mostly from the 37/43 resolution from December 1982, which is where Vice’s link in question really leads.

[3] The Arabic term equivalent to the English “genocide” in official translations of international law etc. literally reads “mass extermination” or “collective extermination.”

Comments are closed.